GIVE GOVERNORS THEIR SPACE
Last Thursday, Kenyans were treated to an ugly scene from City Hall as Nairobi MCAs engaged in a physical brawl. They attacked one of their own who had sponsored an impeachment motion against Governor Evans Kidero. This was clearly a bad show from the ward representatives, despite how strongly they were against the motion. Impeachment motions are to be settled through debate and voting, not through heckling, pouring water on each other or fighting.
The residents of Nairobi never even got the chance to know why Governor Kidero was being impeached, because of the chaos.
This fight aside, over the last three years, we have witnessed what seems to be a deliberate attack on the governors. We have had six impeachment attempts in Kericho, Nyeri, Embu (twice), Makueni and Murang’a governors.We have also witnessed numerous threats of impeachment against other governors across the country which have failed to materialise. Other than this, we have seen disruption of county activities by other elected leaders such as senators and MPs.
While some impeachment motions have gone through, none of the governors has left office because the Senate or the courts have dismissed them. While this has been going on, it is residents from the respective counties who have suffered as the governors spend their time fighting the impeachments instead of working on service delivery.
We have witnessed a situation where county bosses continue to be threatened and intimidated by MCAs and senators. Some have spent most of their time in Nairobi meeting senators in the name of oversight.
Governors have been fighting attempts by senators to have them vetted every now and then. The law has proven to be discriminatory and the senators are using it to settle political scores. Some senators have been accused of using this so-called vetting to blackmail governors.
Some senators have already declared that they will stand for governor in 2017. How then can they be objective and fair to the current holders of the offices they have an interest in?
We all agree thecounty chiefs must be held accountable for the work they do, but must be also allowed to serve the electorate without threats, intimidation or undue processes. This kills the spirit of devolution which was envisaged to ensure development at the very lowest level.
There seems to be unending turf wars between governors and other key players in devolution, at times including the national government. We seem to have forgotten why we put devolution in place and why Kenyans are eager to see it work.
When Kenyans voted for the 2010 Constitution, one of the major motivations was the promise of equitable distribution of resources. This was why Kenyans were eager to see the successful implementation of the devolved system after the 2013 general election.
After seeing how the Constituency Development Fund had transformed local development, Kenyans were more than eager to see more money sent to the grassroots. This is because all that Kenyans have aspired for over the years is to see more resources at the local level and getting to control these resources.
But we have seen senators and MCAs at times working hard to deny governors these resources. This is mostly because some senators are in political competition with governors and just want them to fail, forgetting, it is the common mwananchi who will suffer.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that turf wars between those who should implement devolution continue to be a threat to this noble cause. We have come too far to allow these, some times petty turf wars to derail the benefits of devolution to the mwananchi.
KERICHO, NYERI, EMBU (TWICE), MAKUENI AND MURANG’A GOVERNORS HAVE ALL SURVIVED IMPEACHMENT